Sophomore shooting guard Elijah Hill is a natural-born leader and the lionhearted team captain of the Miami Dade College men's basketball team.
Despite his passion for the game, Hill's love for basketball came by chance.
Hill, who became the only collegiate athlete in his family, made academics a top priority as a child.
"My mom is big on education, so I was into books and school but it was pretty nice and I enjoyed it," Hill said.
The Alabama native's journey on the hardwood began during his last few years of high school when his friend's travel team needed an extra player. Hill thought it would be a one-time appearance, but he soon realized it was something he should invest his time into.
The rest is history.
Attending Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, Hill was named Birmingham's Most Outstanding Player during his senior year, warding off the football-heavy stereotype Alabama has.
The accolade was one of many feats that drew the interest of the Sharks' coaching staff, especially assistant coach Ward Griffith.
"[Elijah's AAU coach] contacted me and gave me a list of players," Griffith said. "The only one that stood out to me was Elijah."
Griffith received interest from Division I schools before signing with Miami Dade College, but the 6-foot-2-inch guard knew he had to take the junior college route. His family lived in Miami before he was born, so he decided to give it a shot by himself.
As a freshman, Hill scored a career-high 33 points against Palm Beach State. But he sees room for improvement after averaging 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game last year. He made that a focal point this offseason.
The hard work paid off. Hill is second on the team in scoring this year with a 17.3 average and also contributes 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.
"When the team has bad energy, he picks it up and gives us a spark," said freshman guard/forward William Jarrell Jr.
Sharks' head coach Kevin Ledoux describes Hill as a competitive player who is well-liked by his teammates and is an extension of the coaching staff. He said Hill welcomes in new recruits with his personable character while showing them the ins and outs of Miami Dade College basketball.
Outside of basketball, Hill is a criminal justice and sociology major who enjoys the South Beach lifestyle and reading in his spare time. He hopes to pursue a career as a criminal profiler after his basketball career is done.
Until then, Hill would like to graduate with his associate's degree and play Division I basketball at Florida International University or Florida Atlantic University.
"I don't see him just being a regular guy, I see him being the supervisor or the boss," Griffith said.